Eco-friendly 3D printed supercar!

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/12/us-usa-3d-printed-supercar-idUSKCN0Q91W020150812

Eco-friendly 3D printed supercar

A California automotive start-up is hoping their prototype supercar will redefine car manufacturing. The sleek race car dubbed ‘Blade’ didn’t come off an assembly line – but out of a 3D printer.

Kevin Czinger of Divergent Microfactories has spent most of his career in the automotive industry. One day he realized that no matter how fuel-efficient or how few tailpipe emissions the modern car has, the business of car manufacturing is destroying the environment.

“3D printing of metal radically changes that. By looking at 3D printing not for that overall structure but to create individual modular structures that can be combined, that 3D printing transforms everything,” said Czinger during an interview with Reuters in Silicon Valley.

According to Czinger, 3D printing transforms everything by changing the way the structural components of cars are fabricated. Currently cars are pieced together on long assembly lines inside large factories that use massive amounts of energy. Even the most fuel-efficient car has a large carbon footprint before ever leaving the plant.

Czinger and his team’s approach was to take the large plant out of the equation. To accomplish this they printed the modular pieces that are used to connect carbon rods that make up the Blade’s chassis.

“The 3D printed chassis is only 102 pounds and has the same strength and safety protection as a frame made out of steel,” said Brad Balzer, the lead designer on the project.

By using carbon fiber instead of steel or aluminum for the body, the entire vehicle only weighs 1400 pounds (635kg), giving it twice the weight to horsepower ratio of a Bugatti Veyron.

The Blade is fitted with a 700 horse power engine that runs on natural gas, reducing its carbon footprint even further.

Balzer says designing an eco-friendly speed demon supercar as their first prototype was intentional.

“We focused a lot on the aesthetics of this car because it is very important to capture the people’s imaginations, especially when we are talking about the core enabling technologies,” he said.

The core enabling technology, the ability to print out car components that can be easily assembled, is what Kevin Czinger hopes will revolutionize car manufacturing. He says electric cars are a step in the right direction, but alone they won’t be enough to curb greenhouse emissions given the projected rise in demand for cars globally unless the way they are manufactured changes.

“By constructing a car this way it has less than one third of the environmental and health impact than the 85 hours all electric car for example has,” he added.

Czinger and Balzer are starting small but they believe their new 3D printing method for car manufacturing will have a huge impact on how the cars of the future are built.

reuters.com

by BEN GRUBER | Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:14pm EDT

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3D printed model car shop

http://3dprint.com/72827/ford-3d-store-printed-cars/

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Ford Launches Online 3D Printed Model Car Shop – Print Your Favorite Ford Car or Truck Today

The automobile industry has long been known to be one of the most aggressive when it comes to using 3D printing technology. In fact, car manufacturers were some of the very first businesses to utilize 3D printing in order to rapidly prototype various automobile parts and designs. This has been going on literally for decades, but in recent times, we have begun to see car manufacturers take the idea of 3D printing a few step further. There have been car parts which have been completely 3D printed, entire cars — in the case of Local Motors — that have been printed in plastic, and various other innovations going on within the automobile industry. 3D printing certainly has its place not only in current car manufacturing but in the future as well.

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Today, Ford Motor Company has informed 3DPrint.com that they are taking things to a whole new level when it comes to 3D printing. No, they aren’t 3D printing an entire car, nor are they allowing people to 3D print replacement parts, but what they are doing will certainly appeal to both fans of the company as well as car enthusiasts and collectors in general.

“Just in time for Father’s Day! Today Ford announced that it is the first automaker to open a one-stop 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store,” Ford Motor Company tells 3DPrint.com. “Now, with the help of Turbosquid, Ford fans can use advanced technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles or opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images.”

Available to order models include the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST, and Fiesta ST with plenty more models coming in the very near future. These models are printed at 1:32 scale in plastic and are priced at $39.00. However, if you own a 3D printer yourself, or have access to one, you can purchase the 3D design files for a measly $4.99. This allows you to scale the car to whatever size you wish and print it out yourself.

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“3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” explained Mark Bentley, licensing manager of Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.”

So what exactly spurred Ford into making these incredibly detailed and accurate replicas available to 3D print? Seemingly it is the fact that researchers are predicting that sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units within the next 3 years, over twenty times the number sold last year.

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The Ford 3D Store website has been built by Turbosquid, a company that specializes in selling 3D models and stock images. They have extensive experience when it comes to selling similar models which are capable of being 3D printed, so they have a clear understanding of IP laws and various methods of securing files. When users purchase a 3D model, they must agree not to distribute it elsewhere.  This has the potential of bringing up an issue which certainly has been looming for the 3D printing space for the past few years. It should be interesting to see how companies like Ford and Turbosquid ultimately deal with such IP conflicts that may arise if people begin to freely share these files, without providing Ford with any royalties.

“TurboSquid already allows customers to purchase more than 1,000 unique, licensed digital images of Ford products ranging from the Model T to the all-new Ford GT,” said Bentley. “We’re at the forefront of licensing 3D automotive images, and it made sense that TurboSquid help us complete that connection to the consumer.”

Without a doubt, this is huge news for the 3D printing space. The idea that individuals can now purchase 3D printed models of licensed replicas, or the design files for these vehicles and then print them out themselves, is something that no other car manufacturer has yet to do. It should be interesting to see how well this business model works, and we will certainly be keeping an eye out for future models which are released to the Ford 3D Store.

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What do you think about this announcement? Will you be downloading and printing your own Ford vehicles anytime soon? Should other car manufacturers contemplate doing the same thing as Ford has? Discuss in the Ford 3D Store forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 11, 2015

3D printing used in Opel cars

Take a look at how Opel are using 3D printing to make life at their assembly plants cheaper yet better!

http://www.engineering.com/…/Tools-from-3D-Printer-Make-Car…

opel, jigs, fixture, automotive

For some, it may still seem like a long way off, but it’s already part of everyday life at Opel: assembly tools produced by a 3D printer are an increasingly important part of the production process. A six-strong team led by Virtual Simulation Engineer Sascha Holl prints plastic assembly tools in Rüsselsheim which are used in Opel manufacturing plants across Europe. Cheaper and quicker to produce, these tools are being used at Eisenach for the assembly of the ADAM and its new ADAM ROCKS stable-mate. And this is just the beginning – Opel experts predict the use of tools from a 3D printer will continue to grow. “In the future, more and more 3D assembly tools will be integrated into the production process,” says Sascha Holl.

For production of the ADAM ROCKS, to be launched in September, the Eisenach carmakers use an assembly jig – a specific, fixed frame – made by a 3D printer to produce the vehicle name logotype on the side window. And for the windshield, a 3D-printed inlet guide is also used to simplify the mounting process and help ensure a precise alignment. Other tools from the printer are used to fasten the chrome step plate on ADAM ROCKS door openings and install the standard Swing Top canvas roof. Around 40 such assembly aids and jigs are used in Eisenach.

This equipment was developed on the computer during the development phase of ADAM ROCKS. “It enables us to quickly adapt the parts. If something changes on the vehicle, we can easily modify the tool with just a few clicks,” explains Holl. “The 3D printing process enables us to produce every imaginable form and shape. Unlike conventional manufacturing technology, we don’t have to accept any limitations.”

The Virtual Engineering Team in Rüsselsheim only has to reach into their bag of tricks when it comes to the maximum size of parts built. Using sophisticated technology to join a number of smaller elements, it is possible to produce larger parts. For instance, when developing an assembly aid for the side sill or the rear spoiler of ADAM ROCKS.

During 3D printing, plastic is melted and laid down in successive layers, each just 0.25 mm thick. The plastic used is light, robust and versatile. Hollow spaces and overhangs are automatically treated with a filling material, which is later washed away in a type of dishwasher. “The process is comparable to bridge or balustrade construction,” says Holl. “There high or protruding elements must also be shored up and supported until everything has hardened off. Only then is the supporting framework removed.”

The small number of jigs required in final assembly was previously made by hand in an elaborate process using a milled cast and resin. Thanks to 3D printing, the production cost of these aids is now reduced by up to 90 percent. In addition, the printed tools are ready to use after just about eight hours, and are up to 70 percent lighter in weight. Another advantage is that these aids can be mechanically and chemically processed. For example, they can be drilled, milled, sanded, varnished and bonded, or connected and combined with various other materials. Ergonomic fine-tuning can also be carried out on a PC in a matter of minutes. “We can adapt the tools for each assembly situation, as well as make them user-friendly for our colleagues on the line,” adds Holl.

Production of the Opel Insignia and Cascada convertible also benefits from 3D printer tools, which will be introduced step-by-step for the assembly of other Opel models. The new Corsa, Vivaro and Mokka, which will begin rolling off the assembly lines in Zaragoza later this year, will be among models built with the help of tools from a 3D printer. Their increasing use makes Opel a leader in this field within the GM Group.

References:

ENGINEERING.COM
by http://www.engineering.com/Author/ID/8/TheEngineer | August 21, 2014